Parenthood just isn’t complete without a stand-off over broccoli. Few are the toddlers who eat everything without complaining. Perhaps by nature – it would be dangerous if toddlers were willing to eat anything – young children are notorious for refusing their veggies.
Whatever you do, don’t make dinnertime a battle. You might be able to force those peas in his mouth, but there’s nothing you can do to make him swallow. Food wars are an inevitable loss for parents.
That’s not to say that you’re destined for dinners of chicken nuggets for the near future. Experts say there are a few things you can do to manage a picky eater:
- Keep it coming. Don’t write off green beans for good. Try them in different forms – a vegetable soup, raw with hummus, in a casserole, breaded and baked.
- Offer one thing you know they’ll like with each meal. Perhaps it’s a dinner roll, strawberries or noodles.
- Don’t fill up on snacks. Of course he isn’t going to try that icky green thing on his plate if he ate crackers just an hour before dinner. Make sure your picky eater is hungry when he arrives at the table.
- Respect his intuitive nature. When kids say they aren’t hungry – they often are not. Kids are much better than adults at not overeating. Respect a child who is done eating, but consider adjusting their snack time and quantity so they are more prepared for mealtime.
- Talk about food. Discuss the way that vitamins in vegetables help your body grow strong.
- Invite kids to prepare food with you. Kids are much more eager to sample a dish they had a role in making. Plus, they might sneak a carrot or two while you’re chopping them.